Thanks for sharing your observations. They help me think through this problem. 

From your examples, the difference between a scientist's and a believer's intuition appear to be their formation process. 

For the scientist, intuition "is informed by a lot of prior analytical thinking and knowledge."

For a nun, it is either an unconscious process or involves acts of faith based on a belief in super-natural intervention (anything is possible if...).

Thus, the way intuition is formed is the key difference. One is rational and the other irrational. 

Is this a fair interpretation? 

Of course, other forces intervene; for example, ideology can affect both the scientist and the nun in how they see the world. 


On Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM, herb fox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I am neither trained nor well read in the field of psychology.  My analytical/critical reading of the article provokes the following.

One would take physicists to be on average analytical thinkers.  In fact, my experience is that a majority are not religious.  Yet the accounts of significant contributions to our knowledge of the physical world often begin with an intuitive leap of faith.  The physicist then applies her analytical capabilities to determine if what she feels intuitively is, in fact, what does happen. [Note: i do not distinguish here between mathematical analysis and physical experiment]

This suggests an interpenetration of the analytic and intuitive.  For the intuitive leap of faith of a physicist is informed by a lot of prior analytical thinking and knowledge.

I would imagine that a nun who taught 7th grad math when confronted by the bat and ball problem would immediately blurt out the correct answer without much analytic thought.  That suggests that rote learning and intuitive thinking are related.  Someone trained by memorizing the catechism might also learn by memorizing certain patterns.  How then would one be able to distinguish an intuitive response from a response from rote memory?


On 4/28/2012 1:06 PM, Kamran Nayeri wrote:
A while ago, there was a discussion on this list about rationality, religion and the political process (in the context of the rise of religious parties in the Middle East and North Africa and elsewhere). Here is another piece from Science Now.  Kamran